Immigration: One of the Most Polarized Issues in Politics
By Giselle Chollett
Although it’s not a new issue, during the last six years we have witnessed a rise of sentiment against immigration. Since the 1600s, the United States has been a destination for people looking for religious freedoms, economic opportunities, and a better life. Spanish, British, Dutch, Swedes, Italians and Germans, as well as a flow of Irish, Chinese, Japanese, Mexicans, Cubans, and later on South and Central Americans are some of the nationalities that throughout time have migrated to the U.S.
According to the Pew Research Center, in 2017 immigrants accounted for 13.6% of the U.S. population. Although this is triple the proportion of the population from 1970, “today’s immigrant share remains below the record 14.8% share in 1890 when 9.2 million immigrants lived in the U.S.” The Pew report adds that the status of 77% of immigrants is legal, while almost a quarter is illegal. The base for this assessment is the census, which also explains that in 2017 45% of immigrants were naturalized U.S. citizens.
From “zero tolerance” rallies to changes in asylum policies, and a more unprecedented form of punishment through family separation, immigration is at the forefront of any political conversation nowadays and it’s an issue that requires determination to resolve a long-time broken system. While the polarization around the matter intensifies, the immediate future is still unclear.
Immigration however, has been a big part of the United States foundation. With the integration of immigrants to society, this country has built and rebuilt as a dynamic economy made of a melting pot of nationalities and culture. This October 28, in observance of National Immigration Day, take a moment to learn more about this important and relevant subject. Reflect about the many contributions immigrants have made and more importantly, help promote tolerance!
Photo: The Daily Beast